Anthony Burgess Foundation – putting music into spaces

It’s a theme I’ll keep returning to.  Where does theatre stop?  Where does dance, spoken word and music start?  I make no apologies for this.  The different elements of ‘Performance’ become ever more intertwined.

I’ve been aware of the Anthony Burgess Foundation for a while; there seem to be interesting events, and it looks an inviting space when I walk past.  I’d been looking for an excuse to visit and it turns out to be a lovely place.  Upstairs there is a coffee shop/bar, a library and a performance space.  Downstairs is an exhibition space – currently an informative exhibition about Burgess and Shakespeare.

Tonight’s performance was put on by PSAPPHA, a Manchester organisation with a ‘passion for creating and performing live music’.  There were three pieces.

First, ‘Music for the pauses in a conversation between John Cage and Morton Feldman’.  What happens when you try to fill the pauses – mostly only a second or two – with music from a piano trio?  A mix of spoken word and bursts of music, very original and a pleasure to listen to; the music brought out more in the interview than words alone.

Second, a new piece by Icelandic composer Halldór Smárason, ‘it means what you think it means’, inspired by his searches through the Burgess archives.  Based on an American interview with Burgess, the piece again wonderfully combines spoken word with original sound – and it is an incredible range of sound that is achieved from the three instruments.

Third, ‘Scenes from A Novel’ by György Kurtág, played with violin, cimbalon and double bass, accompanied by a soprano and a dance film, effectively fused a poem with music and film.

Something very different and worth experiencing.  Next of the series is on Wednesday 4th February.  If you enjoy performance, music or spoken word, try this.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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